We are sailing, We are sailing....
Trip Start Jul 16, 2012
201Trip End Ongoing
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Getting to the harbour, it almost feels like we have already left China, there are no massive crowds of people pushing and shoving and shouting, it is quiet, serene and pretty empty. Thankfully we see a few other westerners loitering looking nervous so it feels good to know we are not alone in our madness. We head to the ticket counter and before we know it we are paid up and checked in. it was a little worrying to see just 42 names on the list on a boat with a capacity of 250, does everyone know something that we don't? Next stop passport control and we are out of the country and officially in no mans land until we arrive in Japan
Lauren and Meiji have come the same route as us, overland via the Transiberian express with a stop off in Mongolia and Simon has been travelling around China for a month, so we had a good chat with everyone comparing stories and places visited. It was nice to have other people to speak to.
Typically the clear skies that we had had during our stay in Shanghai were gone and we were watching the city already hidden in fog disappear into the distance. The Huangpu Creek was longer than we thought and it took about 3 hours before we finally hit open water. This is where we all wished that the Huangpu Creek stretched the entire route to Japan
I woke up at about 7:30 to the sound of Tim running to the bathroom, I follow behind with a chair and a glass of water and then retreat to cover my ears. "Sea sickness" apparently!! Yeah right, I think they call this the hangover from hell. The next day the sea had calmed down considerably and I had found my sea legs so I went off taking photos of the sea in the hope of seeing some flying fish (every blog about this boat trip everyone saw flying fish), not even a cod made an appearance!
Tim eventually managed to get up and dressed in time for dinner, funnily enough he didn’t have a beer :o) As usual the Western crew were the only ones out and about on the boat, the other 40 people barely seemed to leave their cabins, so we had a much more enjoyable dinner than the first night but still had early nights ready for our early arrival in Osaka. By now we could see Japan out of the window and it was nice that the channel we were in was calming the sea nicely. If only the boat arrived in Japan at lunchtime this could have been a fun night with sake, karaoke and wii, but sadly it wasn’t to be.
The next morning after a nice relaxed sleep in a much calmer sea and we make it for the free breakfast, such an odd combination, ham, half a tinned peach, a red bean dumpling, a meat dumpling and a cup of coffee
Off the boat and through passport control and we are stamped into Japan with a 90 day visa. We can barely afford 3 weeks so don’t think we will be needing 3 months. Next is the customs check, we all get through without a search except Simon, he obviously looks like the dodgy one amongst us. After making him empty his bag, the customs officer had one more question “have you got any ganga?” ha ha too funny, where would it be if it wasn’t in his bag that just got searched!!
Thankfully the boat provides a free shuttle bus to the metro so we bundled on with our luggage and headed to the metro. Here we stood as 5 bemused westerners pressing buttons and looking generally confused as to how to buy a ticket. Thankfully Lauren sought out the help of the ticket man and we were then experts at working the ticket machine. Luckily this was the start if the metro line so we had an empty train to ferry us into Osaka, as we went we all went our separate ways and bid some fond farewells. Hopefully we will all see each other again as you have to have something in common to be on that boat in November.
Konichiwa Japan, it is very nice to meet you….. let the Japanese adventure begin.